As the setting sun dips below the horizon and dark clouds fill the sky, fishing boats make their way to shore in Anthonie van Borssom's serene evening view of an inland waterway. The riverbank's pathways have already emptied of their travelers and several other boats have moored as the setting sun casts a reddish glow across the calm water. At left, a dramatically backlit windmill strikes a proud profile, as it, too, suspends its activity for the day. At right, just visible in the dimming light, a cluster of homes lines the shore, their windows not yet illuminated.
This small panel is one of a number of evening river landscapes Van Borssom executed over his career. Inspired largely by Aert van der Neer, who was famous for his moonlit river scenes and with whom Van Borssom's work is often confused, the artist delighted in capturing the mood and atmosphere of nightfall. As in the Gallery's painting, he often set his forms and silhouetted pictorial elements against the sky. He executed this painting with firm, even strokes and used a limited palette with thin gray glazes over a warm ground to further enhance the composition's feeling of tranquility.
lower left in monogram
Private collection, Lugano, by c. 1955; purchased through (anonymous dealer, Austria) by (David M. Koetser Gallery, Zurich); purchased April 1998 by Robert H. [1928-2009] and Clarice Smith, Arlington, VA; by inheritance to Clarice Smith; gift 2012 to NGA.
- Schulz, Wolfgang. Aert van der Neer. Translated from the German by Kristin Lohse Belkin. Doornspijk, 2002: 432, no. 1239, fig. 266.